Addiction treatment programs are designed to address all aspects of addiction. Quitting cold turkey is not enough, as it only solves the problem of consumption, and it might be life-threatening.
Relapse is an issue among most people quitting, and even when done properly, half experience it in the first year. Going through treatment is what gives a person the tools to get back on track more easily and to avoid it in the first place. In order to truly address addiction, patients need to go through all stages of treatment: detox, substance abuse treatment, and aftercare.
The substance abuse treatment stage of the program goes beyond the physical symptoms and effects of addiction. Addiction has psychological, mental, and emotional ramifications, and it is not just about quitting drugs and alcohol. Even if detox is successful, without psychological help, the issues that triggered addiction in the first place won’t be addressed.
Addiction is a lifelong battle, which comprises cravings and triggers. Without proper psychological support, patients will not be able to deal with these effects. They will be more susceptible to relapsing and to falling back into old habits. That is why patients need to engage and partake in therapy sessions, for different purposes and ends.
Common Substances of Abuse
Detox is dedicated to flushing out toxins from the body by sobering up and cutting down consumption. At this point, patients experience withdrawal symptoms. Addiction is a brain disease, making it dependent on substances to function properly.
Cutting its supply will throw the brain into disarray. That is what triggers these symptoms, which can go anywhere from a harmless headache to seizures and hallucinations.
Withdrawal symptoms vary based on substance taken, dosage, level of addiction, and general health. These factors are all addressed in a medical assessment, done before the patient starts the program.
Having 24/7 supervision ensures that the patient won’t be at risk. It is also the best way to prevent relapse during detox, which in some cases, can make the body go into shock. Once detox is done, the patient can start the next stage: substance abuse treatment.
In an individual setting, the patient can talk one on one with a therapist assigned to them. This allows them to be more comfortable to open up and enables a more in-depth treatment.
Each patient has their own needs and challenges to be addressed, and that requires an individualized approach. This one-on-one time also allows for diagnosis of co-occurring disorders in case it is needed – as they are not uncommon.
During individual therapy, patients will learn about addiction, break common patterns, and debunk misconceptions. Additionally, professionals can teach healthy coping mechanisms for long-term relapse prevention.
Behavioral patterns will also be discussed and addressed during individual therapy. This is an important part of changing mindsets and behaviors that might lead to substance abuse.
Group therapies vary by design so that multiple aspects of addiction can be covered. For starters, group therapy is a way to avoid self-isolation, which can lead to negative thoughts and perspectives. This is counter-productive for recovery and can lead to relapse eventually.
In group therapy, patients can feel like they are understood and learn about themselves through others. As they do so, they will be able to work on social skills and help other patients out. This is a great way to feel purposeful and like they are able to generate change.
Counting on group support is about companionship, having a safety net, but also about accountability. Members of the same group can hold each other accountable in a healthy way.
As the family is also an important part of a person’s life, it is important for them to be involved in the treatment process. Family relationships can directly affect a person’s chance of staying sober in the long term. Without a healthy and understanding support system, people in recovery might have a harder time staying sober.
Family therapy is a way to keep relatives informed and on the same page as the patient. They can find out more about what to say or do to help them in their struggle. Unhealthy dynamics between addicts and family members are not uncommon, even when well-intentioned. Enabling and codependency are vicious cycles that can affect accountability and even relationships.
Addiction Treatment Options
As patients have different needs, they have different service settings available to them. These options usually fall under two categories: inpatient and outpatient treatment.
The type of service setting they are recommended depends on multiple factors. One of the most important ones is the level of addiction and addiction-related symptoms. The substances are taken also play a role in the setting and the treatment plan. In addition to that, health conditions and needs also need to be taken into consideration.
Residential or inpatient treatment is the most immersive service setting option for addiction treatment. Patients stay in the facility 24 hours a day, until the end of treatment. This option is often recommended for severe cases of addiction. However, it is a viable, effective option for those with moderate addiction as well, since it allows for 24-hour treatment.
This option leaves almost no room for relapse, as patients are supervised all day. It also gives the treatment team more opportunities to learn about the patient and their recovery process.
Outpatient treatment is considered basic or standard, as they are less intensive than other options. They usually only require one or two visits to the facility a week, which lasts 1-2 hours. A basic outpatient is a good option for those who want to keep working or studying. However, they are only effective for mild cases of addiction, demanding a lot more from the patient.
A PHP is an outpatient service setting, but it is the most intensive option available. Patients will have treatment sessions that usually last around 5 hours every day. The number of sessions might range from 5 days a week to daily sessions. This will depend on the level of addiction and the patient’s availability.
PHP might be recommended for patients who need intensive care but are not able to sign up for residential treatment. However, this is only safe if the patient is not at risk and if they have stable living conditions.
Should their symptoms become acute, it is rarely recommended that they continue PHP instead of residential treatment. Patients might also feel safer in sober living should their current living situation give them opportunities or triggers for relapse.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
IOPs are another outpatient setting option, only not as intensive as PHP, though the name might be misleading. For IOP, patients also only need to stay in the facility during their sessions, getting to keep to their routine. But in this case, most patients usually have around 3 to 4 sessions a week. The sessions might also be shorter, averaging at about 3 hours.
This option is also a better fit for those with moderate to mild addiction-related issues. IOP might not be the best fit for patients who are recommended for residential treatment.
For many cases of addiction, patients might be prescribed medication to help them in their recovery process. Some people might be wary of MAT, sometimes due to common myths.
MAT is applied in combination with therapy, dealing with the biological effects of withdrawal. It works by keeping the chemical balance following withdrawal, helping patients become functional again without drugs or alcohol. The medication prescribed replaces harmful substances like opioids.
Scientific research has proven MAT is effective, can be long-term, and can be adapted to different needs. Also, it doesn’t replace one addiction with another – it actually helps relieve cravings, lowering a patient’s chances of relapse.
The medication prescribed is safe, controlled, FDA-approved, and doesn’t hinder one’s intelligence, motor, and mental capabilities, or functionality.
A dual diagnosis is a result of two co-occurring disorders, usually a mental and a substance abuse disorder. About 60% of people struggling with addiction also suffer from addiction, making them a majority of cases.
Most commonly, people suffering from a mental illness might seek substances to help cope with the symptoms. However, for some, addiction ends up triggering a mental disorder, worsened by the influence of substances.
No matter which disorder came first, both of them feed off each other. Dual-diagnosis patients need to address both disorders to have a better chance at sobriety. If one is left untreated, it could trigger the other back.
Patients finishing treatment need to keep working on sobriety. It is important that they have a proper support system, stable and healthy living conditions, and follow-up after treatment.
Luckily, there are many programs that aim to help people in recovery stay on track after treatment. Staying sober might require big life changes, even cutting toxic people out. That is why these resources are crucial for relapse prevention and long-term recovery:
- Support groups (12-step programs, NA, AA, etc)
- Individual therapy and/or counseling
- Sober housing or transitional living
- Outpatient continued treatment
- Alumni programs and meet-ups
- Having a sponsor
Get The Treatment You Need At Unity Behavioral Health
If you are a loved one has been struggling with addiction, there is help for you. We at Unity Behavioral Health believe in going above and beyond for treatment and can design a plan just for you and your needs. From detox to aftercare, we have the expertise and experience to best help you become sober long-term.
Contact us today to learn more about our programs and our center. We will be glad to answer all your questions and provide all the information you need. No matter what point you are in your journey, we will assist you towards the path of recovery.